Briefing notes
Comparative graph
Fact sheet
About us
Bookmark and Share
  change font size تصغير الخط تكبير الخط print
Home » Children »

Testimony: S.Y.M.J.


Name: S.Y.M.J.
Age: 16
Date: 2 February 2019
Location: Al' Arrub, West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones/Molotovs

On 2 February 2019, a 16-year-old minor from Al’Arrub refugee camp was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 1:00 a.m. He reports speaking to a lawyer via phone prior to interrogation but not being informed of his right silence.

I was up late chatting with my uncles when we heard commotion outside on the road. It was around 1:00 a.m. We knew Israeli soldiers were in our refugee camp and we suspected they had come to our neighbourhood. Then one of our neighbours phoned us to say that soldiers had jumped over the wall onto our property. He barely finished his sentence when the soldiers entered our home.
The commander introduced himself as “Captain Shadi”, the intelligence officer for the area. Then he asked for me and said I was wanted for questioning about stone throwing. I was taken by surprise and felt a bit scared and asked him if I could turn myself in later that morning. He refused and told me he wanted me now.  
The commander then showed me a photograph of a masked young person with a stone in his hand. He then told me to show him my bedroom. I tried not to let him into the bedroom where my younger brothers were asleep but he insisted. Then I asked to use the toilet and a soldier followed me and kept the door open. I found this embarrassing. 
Soon afterwards the soldiers took me outside and my uncle told the commander he would have brought me to the police station in the morning had they bothered to deliver a summons. The commander ignored him. 
The soldiers tied my hands to the front with three plastic ties: one on each wrist and another connecting the two. The ties were very tight and painful and left marks on my wrists for several days. A soldier also wanted to blindfold me but the commander told him to wait. 
I was then led a short distance and the commander asked me if I knew the house of a person he named. When I told him I did not know the house he stuck his gun to my head as if he wanted to shoot me. I was terrified. 
The soldiers then arrested another person from the camp and I saw how they raided the house and banged at the door terrifying everyone. A soldier punched me in the chest when he saw I was watching. He also spat in my face. Then they led me towards the military watchtower at the entrance to the camp where they blindfolded me. They left me by the watchtower for about 15 minutes.
Later I was taken to the back of a military vehicle and made to sit on the metal floor. I hit my head on something metal because I could not see from under the blindfold. I sat between the soldiers’ legs and one of them stuck his boot in my face. I think he wanted me to smell the horrible smell that came from his feet. 
I was driven to the police station in Etzion settlement. On arrival at the settlement I was left in an outdoor area for about 30 minutes and then taken inside for a medical examination. The doctor removed the blindfold during the examination.
After the medical check I was taken to a shipping container and a soldier made me sit on the floor and bent my head down. I was uncomfortable but I managed to sleep for a short time. I woke up when a soldier lifted me up by my shirt. I asked where I was and he told me to shut up and called me “a son of a whore”. He just wanted to wake me up. Then I was taken into a courtyard where I was left until later that morning. I was then taken for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the ties and the blindfold and started to lift weights in the room in front of me. He shouted as he lifted heavy weights in order to scare me. He turned his speaker phone on and called someone and then handed the phone to me. The person told me that it was up to me whether I answered the interrogator’s questions. When I asked who he was he told me he was my lawyer and gave me his name. This conversation lasted for less than 2 minutes and the interrogator was listening.
Without informing me of my right to silence, the interrogator showed me the photo with the masked man holding a stone in his hand and told me it was me. I denied it. Then he swore at me and called me “a son of a fucking whore”. Then he called my sisters “whores” and slapped me hard on the face. This was when I swore back at him and told him he was “a son of a whore”. Then he put his pistol on the table in front of me. I was terrified as it was the first time I had seen a pistol so close. Then he banged the table with the pistol.
He questioned me for about 30-45 minutes and brought in somebody in a military uniform and asked me to apologise to that person for throwing a Molotov cocktail. He told me he would send me home if I apologized. I told him I did not do it and was not going to apologise. Then I was taken to a shipping container for a short while. Then they took my photograph and fingerprints and then took me to see another interrogator.
The second interrogator was more respectful. He told me I was at an interrogation centre and that he was going to question me and told me I had to tell him everything I knew. He turned a camera and a voice recorder on and accused me of throwing stones and a Molotov cocktail. I denied the accusation. When I denied it he shouted at me and called me a liar. He questioned me for about 30 minutes. Then he showed me documents written in Hebrew and asked me to sign them. I signed them because I was scared of him. When I asked him to translate them for me he told me he could not provide a translation.
Then I was tied and blindfolded again and taken to a cell in. Etzion police station. I was searched in my boxer shorts and they removed the tie and the blindfold and I was left in the cell for about 30 minutes. I could not sleep. Then I was shackled and handcuffed before being taken to Ofer prison.
At Ofer I was strip searched and asked to crouch up and down and then I was taken to section 13. 
I spent two nights there before I was taken to the military court. I was left in the waiting area and did not go into the court room. Then I was told I was going to be released. I was taken back to prison and at around 10:30 p.m. I was released.
I was released without charge on 5 February 2019 at the Beit Sira checkpoint. I walked for about one kilometer in a deserted area and I was scared. Then I saw a man on the street and I asked him to call my father. By then it was around 1:30 a.m. The man called my father and told him he was going to take me to his home for the night. The man was very nice. He took me to Ramallah and bought me a Shawarma sandwich. Then some young men told him they were willing to drive me home. I arrived home at around 3:00 a.m.